Republicans in the House of Representatives have put forth HR 610 would approve a couple of huge things.
One, it would authorize Congress to fund block grants for states to use for vouchers.
Folks, Milwaukee has had vouchers for decades but are their academic outcomes improved? No. Ed reformers like Betsy DevVos and DFER like to make it sound like "choice" is the solution for better academic outcomes. It isn't and they have no proof that it is.
We should be asking Congress to only approve bills that will drive for better outcomes, not just for more choice.
I'll just note that pastors in Texas are leading the way in their state against vouchers. Interesting.
Second, at the very end of this bill, we find this (from PBS):
House Republicans on Wednesday weighed legislation that could lower the number of students receiving free and reduced-price meals at school.
Legislation debated by the House Education and Workforce Committee aims to save money by scaling back the number of schools in which all students receive free or reduced meals. It would also help schools that say the Obama administration’s healthier meal rules are too restrictive and not appealing enough to students.I'm not sure how much draconian they could get except if they just ended the program. The amendment is titled, "No Hungry Kids Act." Someone has a sense of irony.
A proposed Republican amendment to the bill would go even further, allowing a trial period of so-called block grants for school meals in three states. That would mean those states wouldn’t receive unlimited federal dollars for students who qualify for the free and reduced-price lunches.
Hunger and nutrition advocates from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American Heart Association have sharply criticized the legislation.
The House Education and Workforce Committee is to vote on this on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd.
The other legislation is in Washington State and is none other than the levy cliff bill. Just yesterday, Governor Inslee, in Olympia meeting with superintendents including Superintendent Nyland, pushed for legislators in the Senate to pass this bill.
School districts face a reduction in the amount they can collect through local levies starting next year, but a measure that has already passed the House pushes that deadline off until 2019. That bill has stalled in the Republican-led Senate, which instead chose to include the delay within their overall education proposal that passed out of the Senate earlier this month. But because the proposal includes several issues still being negotiated between both chambers, it's unlikely that that will pass any time soon, which is why Democrats say the levy fix is needed first as school districts start planning their individual budgets.
"This is an unnecessary burden on educators that they don't need and there's no reason for it," Inslee said.
The four superintendents from Seattle, Lake Washington, Sunnyside and Federal Way School districts said their districts would take a combined hit of $66 million if the bill doesn't pass — ranging from $2 million in the Sunnyside district to $30 million in Seattle.The Republicans keep saying this:
While timing for each district varies, Seattle Superintendent Larry Nyland said that his district will have to send out budget notices next Tuesday notifying schools about potential staffing allocations.
Republicans have argued that by passing the levy fix bill separate from an overall plan, it removes the pressure from lawmakers to finish the overall plan.
To which I say that it would take about 30 minutes of discussion and 60 seconds of voting to get the levy cliff bill done so districts - throughout the state - could get this monkey off their backs. It will NOT delay any other bill and that's just a tired excuse from a group who has delayed and delayed this process.